Because it's stealing. There's nothing else to it. People just are more ok with doing it because they're not taking physical media from a store, they are anonymously downloading files. It doesn't seem wrong to them because a lot of people do it and our generation has grown up with it. It doesn't make it any less wrong, legally or ethically. And for the inevitable "my favorite band said they were ok with it!" response that someone will put up, that doesn't make it ok. That is a reaction to a problem, and not all artists feel the same way, nor should they have to. Some people may be ok with your stealing their music, which is how they make a living, in the hopes that you will then support them in other ways, such as buying merch or concert tickets, but even if you do that it does not negate that the fact that you are stealing from your favorite musicians. And I guarantee you that musicians would prefer to have the money from record sales that people have chosen to illegally download instead than to not have that money.
The ironic thing is if there was anyone we, as a community of music lovers, should want to give our money to, it's the artists that provide us with the music we care about and look forward to. Would you walk into a Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, or local record store and walk out with a bunch of CDs you didn't pay for? You shouldn't do it on the internet just because you're less likely to get caught and it's easy to do.
EDIT: And, as has been mentioned earlier, there exists today a plethora of technology that allows you to have instant access to almost every single artist on the planet at any point in time that you want that music. Yeah, you have to pay if you want higher quality or if you want mobile access, but the technology is there. So saying that it's just "easier" to download it is silly and incorrect at this point, as there are other, legal, ways to access the music you like. Whether or not that is the most fair way to compensate artists is a different issue, but at least it's something.
Yeah, look, it's not like I solely download music, and there are plenty of albums that I'm willing to buy, but I support artists from a variety of different avenues. I go to an average of at least one concert a week, I'll buy merch, I'll buy CDs on occasion, and I've even started getting into vinyl (mostly because my girlfriend has a sweet turntable set up so that eliminates a huge cost). At the same time, however, I'm not adverse to downloading music, either, which I would say I do about equally as much as I buy music.
But the thing is, and here is why I don't really have an issue with it from a moral standpoint, there are so many avenues out there for me to listen to free music. These days, I get the majority of my music not from downloading OR buying it, but through a series of shared Dropbox folders that I've set up with a bunch of my friends. We swap music digitally the same way people used to swap burned CDs or tapes. And in essence, "illegal" downloading is just a broader version of that same thing. I just think it's weird that it's acceptable to burn someone a CD or listen to a song for free on YouTube that someone uploads or stream music from BandCamp or buy used CDs and vinyl (actions that artists never see a profit from), but sharing a digital file is apparently morally reprehensible to some people.
There is a HUGE difference between these things. Most of the activities (other than illegal downloading) you listed are covered under copyright law and are within your legal rights (to a certain extent). When you buy physical media (CD, DVD, book, LP, etc.) you actually OWN that copy and have the right to resell it or give it to somebody else. (Interestingly, those rights don't seem to apply to legally acquired digital media (e.g., MP3s)). That is all within the confines of the law. Illegally downloading material is, by definition, illegal. The issue of wanting to compensate an artist is related, but not the same thing. Thus, you could argue you should only buy new items directly from the artist, and that buying used copies is wrong (as record labels and others have tried to argue in the past). However, when it comes down to it, those things are all more ethical and lawful than illegal downloads, which, again, I can't understand the justification for when there are so many other legal avenues for acquiring music (which you pointed out in your post).
Just to clear this up, it's not stealing. Not by the common sense connotation of the word, and not by the Supreme Court's stance. It's infringement, sure, but it isn't stealing.
Can you point me to something to clarify this? I'm not familiar with the Supreme Court's stance on people downloading content illegally. I understand that in some cases copyright infringement is a better term, but when people go online and download material without paying for it, I don't see how that's any different than walking into a store and putting a CD in your jacket and walking out. I think to define it otherwise would actually put more of a strain on the "common sense " definition.
I don't use Spotify (or any other similar service) because:
a) The interfaces are all inferior to Winamp, and I'll only use the best application to sort, rate, tag, enqueue, and play my music
b) When the service eventally goes out of business, there goes all of my content
I realize I'm in a very small percentage of people who want what I want. I don't care about top singles, or music videos, or anything like that. I want all of my albums in front of me, sorted, manipulated, and displayed in whatever manner I personally deem necessary.
If they want my business (and they probably don't), they'd market to me. When they want my business, they will market to me. I can wait, it's not like Spotify (or any other service) offers anything superior except for being "legal".
I work full-time; I have money. Money isn't the issue. Sell me a better product than I can steal, and I will pay. Charge me for an inferior product, and you won't see my business. Apply this model to movies, television, and a ton of other digital content.
I don't really get this. In a traditional model, it makes sense that if you don't like a product, you wouldn't pay for it. That makes sense. You would find somewhere/someone else that you think is more deserving of your money presumably. Why then, do you believe you should have unlimited access to content that you decided you won't pay for? If they don't deserve your money, you don't "deserve" their product. It shouldn't work both ways. And yes, things like Spotify and Rdio, as well as others, would be legitimate ways to consume this media, because whether it's through ads or subscriptions you are paying for access to it.
I think people have grown up recently believing they are entitled to music, movies, tv shows, etc., and are irked by the notion that they should pay for it. My question is, when did we start to think that we have this "right" to a product that somebody created, and that because we think they are charging too much for it (which can be a legitimate qualm, but a different argument) or it's too inconvenient to go out and get it, that we can just have it without paying for it it. I think it is an ethical issue and it requires people to think about what kind of person they are, or want to be. I think of myself as a good person who conducts myself in an ethical matter. I can't think of myself that way knowing I choose to steal something rather than paying for it. I used to download stuff (honestly, I think most people have at some point), but I realized that I was being hypocritical and inconsistent and made a change in my behavior. Does it cost more? Obviously. But why should we be entitled to all these things for free in the first place?